The city rings with the thunder of gunfire. Men guarded with backpacks and steel shields that protect like cardboard lay scattered across the street. They’ve been here for hours, pinned behind trees, building edges, and hastily repurposed detritus.
As men with megaphones bark orders to disperse and return to their homes, another volley fires. Four, sometimes ten, fall, some to their knees, screaming out in a voice choked with blood, others simply slouch backwards, as if slipping peacefully into the arms of the ever-growing still-life pooling quietly onto the brick-laid road. They’ve started burning tires, hoping that the miasmic fog with give them enough to for the medics to do their job.
Hundreds march forward, leaving dozens half dead or worse. Medics rush out, prayers on their lips that somewhere a sniper isn’t drawing a bead on him. They drag the wounded and the to be dragged, dead down the hill into a repurposed office building half a block away. It’s all they can do to carry them away by arms, leaving the quickly paling skin of the fallen to drag and chafe across the concrete.
Inside they have gauze, scalpels, and body bags, their only anesthetic a box of assorted liquors a worried mother dropped off the day before. They use to have headlamps, until a platoon of baby-faced men armed with baseball bats wandered off with them, shouting of revolution and a brand new day.
Here the medics work, piling bodies onto repurposed desks, the dead and dying indistinguishable amid a sea of blood-soaked sobs and gasping death. They work, hands fumbling as they cut, stuff, and cauterize the loudest ones first.
It occurs to one of them to think that maybe the alcohol wasn’t for the wounded at all, but then what revolution has ever gone according to plan.